World No.1 Iga Swiatek leads a strong field that includes four of the Hologic WTA Tour's Top 5 at next week's AGEL Open in Ostrava, Czech Republic. The field also includes Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina, Seoul champion Ekaterina Alexandrova, as well as Jelena Ostapenko and Emma Raducanu.
Here's what you need to know about Ostrava:
When does the tournament start?
The 2022 AGEL Open is a WTA 500 event that begins Monday, Oct. 3. The tournament is played on indoor hard court at the Ostravar Arena and will use the Dunlop AO ball.
Ostrava features a 28-player singles draw and 16-team doubles draw.
When are the finals?
Both finals will be held on Sunday, Oct. 9. The doubles final is scheduled for noon and the singles final will follow, not before 2:30 p.m.
Who are the defending champions?
Last fall, Anett Kontaveit kicked off her career-best season finish by winning her second title of the year in Ostrava. Then ranked No.30, Kontaveit defeated Sorana Cirstea, Paula Badosa, Belinda Bencic, Petra Kvitova and Maria Sakkari to win the title. Kontaveit went on to win 22 of her last 25 matches of the season, before making her WTA Finals debut and finishing the year ranked No.7.
In doubles, Sania Mirza and Zhang Shuai defeated Kaitlyn Christian and Erin Routliffe 6-3, 6-2 in the final.
Who is playing in Ostrava?
1. Iga Swiatek
2. Paula Badosa
3. Anett Kontaveit
4. Maria Sakkari
5. Daria Kasatkina
6. Belinda Bencic
7. Beatriz Haddad Maia
8. Jelena Ostapenko
In addition to Swiatek and Ostapenko, Ostrava will host five additional Slam champions in Rybakina, Raducanu, Victoria Azarenka, Barbora Krejcikova and Petra Kvitova. The Czech Republic's highest-ranked player, No.19 Karolina Pliskova, is also in the mix.
What does the draw look like?
The draw ceremony will be held on Saturday, Oct.1 at 4:00 p.m.
What is the prize money and ranking points on offer?
First Round: 1 point/$8,080
Second Round: 55 points/ $11,185
Quarterfinals: 100 points/$20,505
Semifinal: 185 points/$42,010
Final: 305 points/$71,960
Champion: 470 points/$116,340
Swiatek returns to action: The World No.1 is set to play her first tournament since winning her first US Open title and seventh title of the season.
Race to the WTA Finals heats up: More than any other segment of the season, points are at a premium over the next three weeks, where one match could decide a player's postseason fate. Just ask Ons Jabeur and Anett Kontaveit. The Estonian was ranked No.30 when she marched to the Ostrava title last year and ultimately overtook Jabeur to finish in the Top 8 and qualify.
Players in Race positions 10-20 in Ostrava:
Maria Sakkari (Race No.10)
Paula Badosa (Race No.11)
Madison Keys (Race No.12)
Belinda Bencic (Race. 13)
Beatriz Haddad Maia (Race No.14)
Anett Kontaveit (Race No.17)
Jelena Ostapenko (Race No.18)
Ekaterina Alexandrova (Race No.20)
Kasatkina looks to shore up qualifying chances: Along with Swiatek, Kasatkina is the only other player in the Top 8 of the Race playing this week. A champion in San Jose and Granby this summer, Kasatkina sits at No.7 in the Race and is just over 100 points behind Coco Gauff at No.4.
Alexandrova, Ostapenko, Raducanu building on Seoul: All three players made the final four in Seoul last week, with Alexandrova besting Ostapenko to win her second title of the season. The biggest questions surround Ostapenko and Raducanu, who both appeared to pick up injuries in their last matches.